Leading Through A Pandemic…Perspectives from Our Executive Director
Since 2003, International Organization for Women & Development (IOWD) has been offering life-changing healthcare services to women and children in Niger, Vietnam and now Rwanda, where our missions occur 3 times a year at Kibagabaga District Hospital. We have faced many challenges over the years, but nothing comes close to what we, as a global community, are dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early March we made the heart-wrenching decision to cancel our upcoming May mission to Kigali, Rwanda. This was the first mission trip to be cancelled in our 17 year existence in order to protect our clinicians, our volunteers, our partners in Rwanda, but most importantly our patients. While unable to travel to Rwanda, our clinical volunteers have been busy in their own communities in the fight against COVID-19. Everyone has their own story of how they have been directly or indirectly impacted by the crisis we are in.
While we, as a non-profit healthcare organization, strive to be prepared and plan ahead, we cannot and have not let the needs and asks from our host hospital, and fellow clinicians, go unanswered. Due to COVID-19, there is a world-wide shortage of needed supplies; whatever was available is being used for Covid patients. As a result Kibagabaga District Hospital has been unable to secure necessary supplies; gloves, masks, gowns, booties, hats, anesthesia medicines and hand sanitizer for their ongoing hospital operations, including cesarean section deliveries. They informed us that they HAD to use all of these items from IOWD’s supply room. If they hadn’t taken our supplies, they would not have been able to perform safe c-section deliveries. IOWD was happy to help in this emergency situation, but now, we do NOT have anything remaining for them to use now, and in the future when our missions recommence.
While the devastation is being felt around the world, I can't help but recognize the dedication and selflessness of everyone on the frontline working tirelessly to bring this crisis under control so that the world can pick up and move forward.
We respect and acknowledge that many individuals and businesses today are hurting as well. For those of you who are able, we are humbly asking for your support towards not only IOWD, but IOWD's ability to replenish the desperately needed clinical supplies, most importantly PPE, and continue to pay it forward in supporting our host country and hospital, Kibagabaga District Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda during these tough and challenging times. Now, more than ever our colleagues and the patients we care for are depending on IOWD. With your support, 100% of funds donated will go directly to replenishing the clinical supplies & PPE equipment which will allow us to be there for our patients now, and in the future as we look to continue 2020 serving the needs of women and children in Rwanda, directly or indirectly.
Executive Director International Organization for Women & Development
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